Practical Training Experience of Malaysian Accounting Students
Maisarah Mohamed Saat from the Management Department of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia discussed the key role that Practical Training Experience is playing in the accounting program of most Malaysian Universities, particularly on students’ development of ethical sensitivity and judgement making ability.
She explained that the aim of the program is to expose students to an actual working environment and help develop their generic skills. She also outlined the literature and discussed the impact of practical training on ethicality before introducing results of a study involving 130 final year accounting students.
The study involoved adapting Longeneckers et al. (1989) sixteen business-related scenarios to measure ethical sensitivity while Rest’s (1986) three story Defining Issues Test (DIT) was modified to suit a Malaysian setting and used to assess students’ judgement making ability.
Results from the pre and post test study showed that attending practical training did not improve students ethical sensitivity, although their p-scores (judgement making ability) showed significant improvement.
Responses to open ended questions in the survey show that the majority of students had faced ethical dilemmas during practical training, particularly in their dealings with clients, including clients’ fraudulent acts, lack of co-operation and attempts to impair auditor’s independence.
Coaching as a Tool for Systemic, Ethical Change
Justine Lutterodt, an American psychologist and professional coach and strategy consultant with the Centre for Synchronous Leadership, based in London, discussed what she described as wave 1 of ‘The Ethical Leadership Dilemma’ study, presented at the 2010 EBEN conference and initially conducted as part of a postgraduate degree in Organisational and Social Psychology at the London School of Economics.
The concept reviewed four leadership segments that react differently to social norms and reflects on the implications for each segment in relation to ethics. The segmentation is based on two well‐established psychological dimensions and a series of qualitative interviews with business leaders in the professional services sector.
Justine then examined ‘ethical strengths’ and ‘ethical vulnerabilities’ of each segment in greater detail, based on supplementary research (wave 2) conducted within the last year.
She concluded by exploring the strategic role of coaching in triggering systemic, ethical change in business, both generally and in relation to the activation of specific leader segments.